Accounting change in the public sector: rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic?

Noel Hyndman, Mariannunziata Liguori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Change and crisis are concepts often intertwined. In the public sector, ideas related to New Public Management (and associated accounting changes) were themselves introduced, from the 1970s onwards, in response to ballooning public-sector expenditure and perceived widespread inefficiencies, presented, at the time, as impending crises themselves. Existing accounting literature has frequently seen change mainly as a reaction to external pressures and shocks; this view particularly strengthened in recent years as a reaction to emergencies, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2008 Great Recession and ongoing climate-change challenges. Crises can provide the conditions for great reforms and the opportunity to develop new systems. In light of the long history and research on public-sector accounting change and the more recent developments on crisis, this chapter sets out to provide some possible lenses to re-interpret processes of accounting change and their relationship with crises. The contribution concludes by suggesting possible ways forward in the form of broad new research themes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of public sector accounting
EditorsLee Parker, Tarek Rana
Place of PublicationOxon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003295945
Publication statusAccepted - 01 May 2023


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